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Water chemistry with RO water


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Well, I've been doing some reading here and am just getting more confused.  Chemistry is so NOT my strong suit in life!  When I set up my first community fish aquarium I learned more than I ever thought I could learn...but now I'm a newbie again with shrimp.

 

So, I'm using RO water from a system we built into our kitchen sink for my 10g tank that has RCS with tigers on the way.

 

The water parameters I know of (tested from the tank itself) are:

 

ph  6.4 - 6.5

nitrite 0

ammo 0

nitrate 10-20

temp  75-76

 

I use a little bit of Prime with water changes just out of habit; not really sure if it's necessary with RO water.  I also have a few tbsp of crushed coral in my filter as the pH was dropping to 6.0 in the first few weeks of the tank.

 

I have a sword, micro sword, xmas moss, crypt, and then three more mosses coming this week.  I just started using Excel Flourish in a very small amount 3 times a week.

 

I assume I should be remineralizing my water; if so, what product would be recommended?  I don't have test kits for that but could get them if needed.

 

And will I need to test other water parameters (hardness, TDS, etc) in order to know what product to use?

 

I received one berried female in a recent order of RCS, and I'm quite curious to see how it goes with her with my existing parameters...but for the long haul I need to figure out what more I need to do to optimize the water.

 

Thanks much for your input.  :)

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Well, my partner just found a GH kit that I forgot we had, and my tank water tests at 2 GH.  From what I understand, the recommendation is

6-8 or 6-10 for RCS / tiger shrimp.  So unless I'm way off base it looks like primarily I need to raise the GH which should be simple enough.

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Using RO water makes it unnecessary to use prime. Your RO unit should remove the chlorine from the water. You will need to remineralize the water. I personally use salty shrimp gh/kh + for my neos. The dosage that I use is one scoop for my 5 gallon jug of RO water. I'd do this quick because i know the shrimp won't have the proper water parameters to molt which will cause shrimp deaths.

Hopefully an experienced member will chime in to confirm what I said or correct it if I am wrong.

Id also get a kh measure kit and a tds pen

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.  I'll get to the local pet shop today to see if hopefully they have some kind of remineralizer; if not it will have to be via mail.  I know some people add tap water for this,  but I have ammonia in my tap water which has caused me nothing but problems in prior tanks so I'd rather not go that route at all.

 

Will get a test kit on hand, too. 

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I just started up my neo shrimp tank again after have some miserable failures in the past due to water quality.  I finally went to a RO system and that is making all the difference in the world.  So I am new at this too but read a lot here.  Here is what I figured out in a nutshell:

 

By far the remineralizer of choice seems to be Salty Shrimp GH+.  I believe it's a combination of cost and works well.  Buy the small bottle because you are using so little that it'll last forever (I bought the GH+ instead of GH and KH together just in case I decided to raise Caridina, which require KH at or near 0).  For raising KH, it looked like a lot of people use Seachem Alkaline Buffer so I bought that too.  So my remineralization is a two powder measuring process which is ok.  I bought a TDS pen off Amazon (there are tons of them - I just went to the cheapest with the best reviews and with temp compensation) and I started adjusting with GH+ which looked like about a TDS of 100 (GH = 6) and then I add Alkaline buffer to get TDS up another 50 to 150 (KH = 5 at that point). That's how the math worked out for me starting with TDS of 4 coming out of my RO unit.  I also double checked my GH and KH values using the test kits.

 

I am trying real hard not to overthink or overcomplicate this.  My orange shrimp are breeding and happy.

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When you see ammonia in your city tap water it is most likely chloramine, which is ammonia and chlorine combined.  And you may have fluoride in it as well.

 

If you have a quality RO unit, and you keep up with changing the carbon block filter based on the number of gallons ran though the system that the filter is rated for, prime will not be necessary.  However your carbon blocks may not last as long as claimed especially with chloramine present.  RO units are the way to go, but learn about how to maintain yours the best you can.  Prime has other uses as well which can be seen here.  http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/Prime.html  Using prime will never hurt and since you have a ten gallon tank you don't need much. 

 

I would recommend using a half dose of flourish once per week as it does contain a small amount of copper.  Keep up with water changes.  1 gallon twice per week would be a good idea.  2 gallons once per week is fine, just make sure to temperature match the water in the tank with a heater first.

 

Salty shrimp bee shrimp gh plus would would very well for you if you continue to use crushed coral. 

 

Another alternative, salty shrimp GH/KH will keep your PH stable and you just wont have to think about it.  That would work fine for the shrimp you are keeping.

 

Crushed coral as a buffer is fine, but do keep an eye on the PH.  Don't panic and make any fast PH changes.  Stable PH is better than freaking out about a number.  So don't freak out and make the change very slow.  RCS and Tigers should be in the 7 to 7.4 range.

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Okay, this is all good stuff.

 

I actually don't have to deal with chlorine in the water as we are on a well.  The ammonia was a big surprise; apparently it's an agriculture byproduct.  The water is also very heavy, lots of iron and minerals, and even with three separate filters it's still far from perfect.  So we are loving the RO unit (and not just for the shrimp!).

 

I didn't know about copper in Flourish, just saw lots of people with shrimp recommending it so never would have guessed.  I will cut back the dosing.  Thanks for the heads up.

 

I appreciate all the information.  I won't freak - but I certainly appreciate the reassurance.  :)  Want to do right by these little guys (and gals).

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I live in MN and most people have to use a water softener. My well water is very hard and has lots iron. My water goes through the softener first which makes it taste very good for us humans and I use a RODI for my shrimps. The softener saves on appliances like dishwasher, washing machine and faucets/toilets. You use about 1/4 of the soap you would without the softener but they are not cheap.

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Vpier, curious what type of softener you have for your well.  We have what a non-salt unit (not very expensive) that we aren't impressed with; by far the most popular seems to be the salt-based ion exchange units, but my partner has health issues and is concerned about the salt.  Not tons of options that don't cost an arm and leg.  We've been in our new house for two years and so far aren't seeing obvious signs of iron damage -- probably what we have is going to have to hold us for a while, anyway. :money:

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Check your local water company to see if you live in an area that uses chloramine, if so its best to get filters made for chloramine removal. If i remember correctly standard carbon block filters are very inefficient at chloramine removal and are almost useless in a chloramine water system. http://www.thefilterguys.biz/index.htm is where I go to get my filters, they have chloramine carbon blocks filters. Water softener is good for your home but not needed with a good RO setup. I recently added a DI stage to get the last bit of TDS out of my water before I remineralize.

 

I use Salty Shrimp GH+ for all my tanks, makes water changes easier. You could use SS KH/GH+ for neo tanks, I don't because I am lazy and my neos are doing fine in lower KH water. I add about a tablespoon of crushed coral in a filter media bag to tanks that I want to buffer PH in. I start at 6.4 PH like you out of the RO/DI unit. With the crushed coral I can get my water to just around 7 for Tigers and Neos while keeping my water soft with a GH of 5-6 and TDS of 120-140. My KH with this method has so far hung around 1. Good idea to keep a close eye on KH until you get the right amount of crushed coral set for your tank needs.

 

Hope this helps you out. I have been trying this method for the last 6 months and it seems to be working.

 

Almost forgot; I use inert substrate in all tanks that I plan on buffering to a higher PH.

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Vpier, curious what type of softener you have for your well.  We have what a non-salt unit (not very expensive) that we aren't impressed with; by far the most popular seems to be the salt-based ion exchange units, but my partner has health issues and is concerned about the salt.  Not tons of options that don't cost an arm and leg.  We've been in our new house for two years and so far aren't seeing obvious signs of iron damage -- probably what we have is going to have to hold us for a while, anyway. :money:

Not sure what size or model but I have this

brand http://www.homedepot.com/p/Waterboss-22-000-Grain-Capacity-Water-Softener-System-700/100129730?cm_mmc=shopping-_-bingpa-_-26-_-100129730&

ci_src=328768002&ci_sku=100129730&gclid=CKGq6cqlmMoCFYEmMgodiHcGHA&gclsrc=ds

 

As for the salt aspect, your water never goes through the salt. The salt is used to make a saline solution to clean the filter and recharge the ion media. The unit flushes out the salt water inside the ion media chamber. My unit operates around 3am every night. I have yet see or hear of a non-salt system that really works and wont cost you an arm or a leg. We have a company called Kinetico (non-salt) might be the best sysytem but its thousands of dollars and the monthly service ($100+ ) to change out media and filters very month is very expensive. I go through a bag of salt a month and I get the high dollar morton iron removal salt,$6 a bag compared to the $4 bags.

 I think we paid around $500 for our unit and the size and cost depends on the size of your household and water needs.

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Vpier is correct the salt water (waste water) does not go into the house. It is bad for the environment though. Some cities have made it illegal to use salt based water softeners because of the high amounts of sodium they discharge into water systems.

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Vpier is correct the salt water (waste water) does not go into the house. It is bad for the environment though. Some cities have made it illegal to use salt based water softeners because of the high amounts of sodium they discharge into water systems.

Safer than all the chemicals municipalities dump into their water to make it potable.

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Safer than all the chemicals municipalities dump into their water to make it potable.

One thing has nothing to do with the other. All water should be treated before drinking. Would you drink water from a random pond, lake, or stream? I would hope not. One does not drink the brine water from a water softener tank so they don't really equate as far as comparing safety.

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Okay, this is all good stuff.

 

I actually don't have to deal with chlorine in the water as we are on a well.  The ammonia was a big surprise; apparently it's an agriculture byproduct.  The water is also very heavy, lots of iron and minerals, and even with three separate filters it's still far from perfect.  So we are loving the RO unit (and not just for the shrimp!).

 

I didn't know about copper in Flourish, just saw lots of people with shrimp recommending it so never would have guessed.  I will cut back the dosing.  Thanks for the heads up.

 

I appreciate all the information.  I won't freak - but I certainly appreciate the reassurance.  :)  Want to do right by these little guys (and gals).

Just caught this post sorry. Yea you will not have to worry about chlorine. I would run 2 sediment filters in your RO unit if you can.

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One thing has nothing to do with the other. All water should be treated before drinking. Would you drink water from a random pond, lake, or stream? I would hope not. One does not drink the brine water from a water softener tank so they don't really equate as far as comparing safety

I should have said safer for the environment instead, did not realize you would take it the wrong way.

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